The UMD Eruv Committee is s a non-profit organization that maintains the University of Maryland Eruv, which encompasses the entire University of Maryland, signifigant areas of College Park, and sections of University Park. An eruv is a metaphysical wall, in which traditional Jews are allowed to carry objects from one area to another on the Sabbath. This includes everything from bags and books to pushing strollers and wheelchairs to wearing backpacks.
In order to construct the eruv, the UMD Eruv Committee was required to obtain permission from the owners of the area and structures within the boundary, including Prince George’s county, Pepco, and the University of Maryland.
View UMD Eruv in a larger map
Halachic (Jewish Law) Questions:
Q. What can I carry in the eruv?
A. Here’s a list of what you can and cannot carry. For specific questions, ask our Rabbi.
You May Carry:
Tallit, Chumash, Siddur, or other books
Your house keys
Handkerchief, gloves, pocket watch
Food to hospital patients
Jackets and other clothing which you remove on warm days
Remove trash from your house if it disturbs Oneg Shabbos
Food from house to Sukkah
Activities You May Perform:
Push a baby stroller along with food and diapers
Wear a rainhat
Wear Jewelry without concern for Shabbos restrictions
Walk a dog on a leash
Push someone in a wheelchair
Activities You Still May Not Perform:
Carry items which are Muktseh (may not be touched on Shabbos — e.g., pen)
Open or carry an umbrella
Typical weekday activities not in the spirit of Shabbat (e.g. Play ball or ride bike)
Carry anything in preparation for post-Shabbat activity
Q. I know you guys worked hard on the eruv. Can I just assume that it will be up every week?
A. Thank you, we’re flattered, BUT….You need to always assume the eruv is down unless you hear otherwise. Storms, modifications by phone/electric companies, tree branches, and other events can bring down lechayiim or adjust wires rendering the eruv non-kosher. Please check the UMDEruv Facebook page or this website after 12 Noon on Friday.
General Eruv Questions:
Q. Who are you, and what exactly have you built?
A. We are students from the University of Maryland, who are maintaining an eruv, or boundary, that according to Jewish law, will allow students to carry on the Sabbath and faculty to push strollers or wheelchairs. We are either affixing small, plastic strips to the telephone poles, or using laser beams to do weekly checks to make sure the strips are in the right position so that they are under the wires.
Q. Erev, Eruv, what?
A. An Eruv, or boundary, can be explained in detail HERE
Q. You guys are looking suspicious when checking the eruv with laser beams and hammers. How do I know if this is legit?
A. We have full permission from PEPCO, the electric utility company, who owns the telephone poles. Please call them at 202-872-2000, and use the automated system to ask to speak to Karen Lefkowitz if you have any questions. Additionally, we have full support from the University of Maryland, and have met with the County Executive’s office for Prince George’s County as well.
Q. Why are you working at night?
A. The laser beams that we are using are easier to see in the dark. We are extremely quiet at night at make every attempt to not disturb the communities we are working in.
Q. How will this eruv affect me?
A. This eruv will not affect you in any way, and you will likely not even notice the plastic strips that are being put up, as PEPCO, Comcast, and Verizon frequently install plastic strips to cover wires.
Please contact us with any questions, concerns, comments or let us know if you want to get involved:
Local Rabbinic Advisor: Rabbi Eli Kohl
Grandmaster Chasid: Yaakov Stein
Laser Lass: Hannah Wenger
Getaway Driver: Julia Ashkenazy
Lechi Monkey: Shalev NessAiver
All Around Good Guy: Jacob Fischer